JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Forget the maths, Beale's the standout number


John Eales

Both lucid and frugal ... Kurtley Beale has blossomed in the No.10 role.

Both lucid and frugal ... Kurtley Beale has blossomed in the No.10 role. Photo: Quinn Rooney

It seems to be that time of year when Super Rugby coaches turn to their ability as mathematicians as much as their knowledge of rugby.

The various permutations and complications of whether or not they will make the playoffs, combined with the fact you need more than an average abacus to navigate your way around the restrictions of salary caps and budgets, create a complex environment.

Of course the calculations demanded by the Chiefs, Bulls, Brumbies and Stormers require less intellect than the maths confronting the Reds, Waratahs and Sharks.

And at this point, sadly for their supporters, there's no need to go beyond basic extremities when doing the sums for the Lions, Force and Blues. No amount of magic in the numbers can save their season.

Granted, the Waratahs have made it complicated for themselves with another narrow loss at the death, this time to the Bulls.

But given the vagaries of this competition, I wouldn't automatically assume they are out of the picture.

Despite suffering from a lack of experience, composure at key moments and depth in certain positions means they remain a possible, even if highly improbable, chance of making the playoffs.

As do the Reds who, despite playing their best rugby of the season to date, have also made it more difficult for themselves to qualify than it might have been.

Amid the calculations – just when it seems the maths and logic of the Aristotle, Archimedes and Adam Spencer types among us are taking over the season – sheer inspiration and the wonderful anti-logic of sport appears in the form of the Rebels, reminding us why we devote our hearts and minds to such pursuits in the first place.

The Rebels' awesome 28-19 victory over the Crusaders was more than just an upset. It was franchise defining.

Led by an at-times rabid “Stockade” crowd of more than 18,000, the Rebels played with the survival instincts of ownerless dogs scrapping for meat outside a butchery, combined with the group instinct of a pack of wolves. It's amazing how so much can change over a few weeks.

But make no mistake: this was the biggest day in the Rebels' short history; a victory over “the” side of Super Rugby, the Crusaders; a victory from which legends will be born and from which a new franchise came of age – and a victory allowing them to now close the chapter on their beginning and move to the next stage of their journey with more than reserved optimism.

Of course detractors might argue that this was an understrength Crusaders with the likes of Kieran Reid “rested” on the bench. But that's the nature of this competition and it doesn't account for the fact that their side included both Richie McCaw and Dan Carter (albeit both returning from injury but undoubtedly both still wielding their dominant psychological auras).

While it's useful to be a mathematician, sometimes, it is not so useful to be a logician (depending where you derive your logic, that is).

On some measures, the Rebels' victory could be considered a fluke.

Yet by other yardsticks, derived partly from last week's narrow loss to the Bulls, this was a worthy victory that had been under construction for some time.

Among their team, they had giants. Rodney Blake in the front line and Hugh Pyle right behind him had storming matches, as did Nick Phipps, playing his most authoritative game in two years.

Kurtley Beale was also a standout among many for the Rebels. While a certainty in any Wallaby team, the question arises on the position he should play.

It certainly seems that his prolonged stint at fullback for the Waratahs, Wallabies and Rebels has contributed to making him a better flyhalf. Perhaps this is because the fullback's eye scopes the world of possibilities from a global, rather than local, perspective.

Of all positions in the rugby rectangle, fullback takes in the gamut of patterns of the game like no other, which has allowed Beale to add guile to his genius.

He ran, passed and kicked at the appropriate times, being both lucid and frugal, even with the surfeit of possession he was afforded.

His form, along with the resurgence of the Reds through the likes of Will Genia, Luke Morahan and Scott Higginbotham in their euphoric 42-27 victory over the Chiefs, augers well for some more attractive numbers later in the Super Rugby and Test seasons.

24 comments so far

  • Another superbly crafted piece by the master on the field and now the master of rugby "prose" off it.

    Comparing the Rebels' forwards to a pack of ownerless, rabid dogs, scapping for morsels outside a butchery? Where does this guy get his images from? Marvellous, marvellous, stuff.

    And John is right to say the Rebels' performance was "franchise defining". They richly deserved to win that match, (no fluke there John) dominating it from start to finish with sheer guts and bloodymindedness. McCaw made the comment after the RWC that he could read defeat in the faces of the Wallabies from an early stage in that dreadful semi performance.

    How true but you could equally read defeat written all over the faces of McCaw, Carter and other Crusaders long before the conclusion of the Rebels' match. They were outmuscled, outgunned, and outpassioned by the Rebels "uneducated" rabble for the great majority of that match.

    I thought Neville was the standout lock, into everything and a great future prospect. Pyle pulled off that marvellous tackle but was less obvious than Neville elsewhere.

    Yes Beale looks good so far John but the acid test will be when he has less time and space against a world class test side like Wales. I would back Barnes with his rugby brain more at that level than Beale but time will tell.

    Date and time
    May 14, 2012, 4:14AM
    • Mate, so Wales will be a sterner test for Kurtley than the All Black laden Crusaders??? Sorry man, loved your blog, but having a big of a chuckle right now ;-)

      Date and time
      May 14, 2012, 8:42AM
    • Barnes and football brain is an oxymoron...Beale is a far superior player than him. Barnes' first instinct is to kick and Beale likes to run which makes for a better outcome, such as the results over the weekend.

      Date and time
      May 14, 2012, 1:48PM
    • @ mick-e
      Don't get me wrong but you've gone and said it again...' a world class test side like Wales'.
      I'm not chasing you as to your opinion on Beale re- the blog when you invoked the 'Ed rule' of closing comments to me and @ juts (I think that's who it was) but I'm intrigued as to this description of Wales.
      I enjoy your blogs and opinions.
      My best rugby mate is Welsh and I know he can't help that but...
      Is there some lineage here maybe me olde dear ? Lmoa

      inner west sydney
      Date and time
      May 17, 2012, 3:13PM
    • I don't see where the problem is with describing Wales as world class?

      They were, for me, the stand out performers at the last world cup. Were unlucky to make the final, based on a fairly harsh red card early in the semi final.

      Had they made the final, I believe they were a very strong chance to beat an under performing all blacks.

      Date and time
      May 18, 2012, 7:31AM
    • @ M
      Agree totally !
      I'm not saying that description is not deserved or wrong. In fact I rate them highly for a northern hemisphere team.
      Broken Ankles has produced a team that play a game, dare I say it, of the quality and style of our southern hemisphere teams.
      I had NO doubt that they would take the title of 6 Nations and defeat the old enemy England at Twick, something not done for many years.
      My inquirey was to @ mick-e and a possible connection to the pride of Wales.

      inner west sydney
      Date and time
      May 18, 2012, 8:52AM
  • The big take away from the weekend was seeing how teams can perform when they really, and I mean really, want it. There have been articles written here in the past about passion being overstated as a instrument of success, but to me it is the defining characteristic of the winning side in each game. Super Rugby teams are so close these days in terms of ability, what set the Reds and Rebels apart from much more fancied opposition was the desire and desperation in each and every moment of the game. Australia can definitely compete and win against the best when they find that rabid dog mentality and bring it for 80 minutes.

    Hong Kong
    Date and time
    May 14, 2012, 10:00AM
    • Lats.

      Test match rugby is different to super rugby-more intense physically, more defensive and less time and space. I havent seen the wider AB squad yet but I doubt we have got to the Black Crusaders situation of some years ago.

      Date and time
      May 14, 2012, 10:56AM
      • Mate.. agreed, but methinks Kurtley will go alright just the same :-)

        Date and time
        May 15, 2012, 11:11AM
    • Kurtley Beale at fly-half has certainly transformed the Rebels, who may spring a few more surprises when O'Connor returns. I was very impressed by the performances of Pyle, Neville, Blake, Vuna and Jones during the past two games. The Reds were absolutely fantastic yesterday for whom Morahan has shown great improvement. Gill certainly looks to be a superstar of the future. The Brumbies have also unearthed a few talented individuals, which all auger well for the future of Australian Rugby. The only downside for me have been the performances of the Waratahs and Force, which have been pretty average. Both these sides will benefit from a change of coaching personnel and an injection of a few new players, especially talented fly-halfs. They have to be less reliant on stupid and aimless kicks, which invariably just hands the ball back to the opposition.

      Date and time
      May 14, 2012, 11:16AM

      More comments

      Make a comment

      You are logged in as [Logout]

      All information entered below may be published.

      Error: Please enter your screen name.

      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Please enter your comment.

      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

      Post to

      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

      Thank you

      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

      HuffPost Australia

      Rugby World Cup 2015

      Round 1
      Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
      ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
      TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
      IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
      Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
      SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
      FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
      SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
      WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
      Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
      NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
      Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
      SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
      Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
      AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
      FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
      Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
      NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
      Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
      ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
      ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
      Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
      SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
      ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
      AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
      SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
      Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
      IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
      Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
      TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
      Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
      WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
      FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
      Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
      NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
      SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
      Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
      SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
      ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
      Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
      ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
      IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
      Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
      CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
      FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
      Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
      NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
      Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
      NZL 47vs TGA 9 Stats
      Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
      AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
      ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
      ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
      Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
      ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
      FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
      USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAF 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
      WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
      WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
      Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
      WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
      Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
      WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
      Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
      WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
      Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
      LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
      Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
      WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
      View All Fixtures
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
      Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
      England 3 1 2 0 1 6
      Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
      Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
      View all
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
      Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
      Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
      Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
      USA 3 0 3 0 -96 0
      View all
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
      Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
      Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
      Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
      Namibia 3 0 3 0 -59 1
      View all
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
      France 3 3 0 0 72 14
      Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
      Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
      Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
      View all

      Follow Us on Facebook

      Featured advertisers